Eat from all the basic food groups in moderation, even for healthy fats and dairy products such as low-fat milk.

If there is one thing we have in abundance in Singapore, it's great holiday meals. From Christmas feasts to reunion dinners, Deepavali spreads to Hari Raya Puasa celebrations, the delicious food you eat just keeps on coming. Unfortunately, so does the unwanted fat and all that added sugar.

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

To help you get through the holiday season without upsizing your wardrobe, we've prepared some handy pre-meal tips and some simple, calorie-conscious advice to follow when you sit down to eat.

Tip 1: Don't Visit Hungry

Make sure you eat a light meal before a feast. This will help you muster the discipline you need in the face of temptation (and kill all thoughts of bingeing on pineapple tarts, kueh or a great curry). Try to eat a high-fibre snack or fruit an hour or two before the big meal. Gorging on high-calorie festive treats when you are famished will cause you to consume a whole load of them.

Related: How Much to Eat at Each Meal

Tip 2: A Holiday Feast is Not an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!

We're not suggesting you go on a hunger strike; by all means, try your favourite dishes. But just because it's a holiday, it doesn't mean you should eat till you can barely move.

Overeating any type of food, whether it's a wholesome one or a less than healthy option, is never a good idea. A better idea is to share your favourite dishes and healthy recipes with a relative; not only is it a great way to bond, it'll also stop you from overeating.

Related: Makan Matters: What's a Healthy Diet

Tip 3: Take It Easy on Temptations

Sometimes the best solution is the simplest one! For instance, another easy way to make your meal healthier is to reduce the amount of gravy added to your food! Thick sauces are delicious, but they're also where all the salt and fat are hiding.

Tip 4: Go Easy on the Drinks

Did you know that a single can of soft drinks can contain about 80 – 150 calories? When you can, request for beverages which have reduced sugar or those with the Healthier Choice Symbol, and perhaps just avoid soft drinks. Remember, water is a refreshing alternative, and with a twist of lemon or mint, it's a hydrating and tasty alternative.

Related: Set Your Drinking Limits

Tip 5: Go On, Give Yourself a Treat!

You don't need to totally deprive yourself just to maintain a healthy weight and stave off heart disease. After all, everyone's entitled to a little indulgence. If you're careful with your portion sizes – the smaller, the better – you'll have fewer calories and less guilt to deal with!

It's not difficult to maintain a healthy diet. For example, you can set a reasonable limit on how many tarts, kueh, cakes or sweets you intend to eat per day. Or take half as much as you would usually eat. Try one of the many apps available to track your progress and check whether you've hit your daily calorie "quota".

Mindful Eating for the Holidays

At the end of the day, surviving this round of festivities comes down to the basics: Eat slowly and in moderation, stick to a balanced diet and have your 2+2 (two servings of fruits and two servings of veggies) every day, and keep up the physical activity during the holidays. That's the way to have an extra happy holiday season without the unwanted weight gain.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.


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